• In Crowd

    By Icebeast | August 17, 2011

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    Hello ‘The One’,

    So, it has come to my attention, that the only people who can have valid opinions on certain things are the people that actually do that thing.  This is opinion is almost exclusively to sports, where people argue, especially players, that you cannot judge because you have little experience.  This has mainly come to the forefront in a couple of recent NFL stories.  Many players argue that Roger Goodell is ruining the sport, and should get out of there cause he never played the game (beyond high school).  Another argument is that certain analysts and commentators should shut up (criticizing certain players) because they never played either.

    Their argument is completely and totally insane.  One could argue the merits of having played before, allowing one to understand the more intricate workings of the game.  However, people who have played before, do not necessarily have a more accurate view of the game then someone who hasn’t.  In fact, the objectivity reached by having never player may be a benefit, making changes that people my oppose because of their bias as to how the sport should be played.  It is clear that this argument comes from a certain bias from players, especially when they make the absurd leap that if you didn’t win a title then your opinion is meaningless.  Wait, what?

    Lets just be clear, sports are going to change.  You can resist change all you like.  You can make valid arguments that those changes are bad for the sport.  However, arguing that the opinions are false simply because the person didn’t play the sport is flawed argument.  If someone objectively says a player is bad, and lists a reasonable set of criteria for that view, arguing that because they didn’t play, their opinion is wrong, is retarded.  Instead, argue the metrics.  If you can’t, perhaps your opinion is wrong?

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    Free Agency

    By Icebeast | July 30, 2011

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    This last week has been incredibly entertaining in the NFL. Since the new CBA was agreed to (not yet in place, legalities), free agency has been moving at a fast and furious pace. My team, the Packers, have not really done anything. This is not surprising, as they haven’t really done anything in the last 5 years of free agency. However, this did get me thinking about how important free agency really is. I heard Mark Schlereth say that players who reach free agency, do so, because their existing teams let them. That is, these players are free agents for a reason.

    This isn’t to say all free agents are equal. Some players dislike their current team, or are able to get their teams to sign unfavorable contracts (Nnamdi and the Raiders). Others are released because their teams are trying to shed money and get younger (Nick Barnett). However, others still are shed because they have personality issues (Randy Moss) or just aren’t that good (Tavaris Jackson). So, besides the handful of players in category one, it seems that most free agents are designed to be stop gaps, filling holes until a younger, better, player can. So, I wouldn’t be too excited if my team went out and spent a lot on free agents for this reason.

    That isn’t to say some teams don’t “win” free agency. The Eagles and the Patriots have both made some good moves, in my opinion. The Eagles are now hoping their defense is impervious (they have no LBs though), while they Pats are hoping to get great value for two players while risking basically nothing. However, if a good team, like the Packers or Steelers, don’t do anything, I wouldn’t be worried. I mean, the Redskins always spend, right?

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    Citation Needed

    By Icebeast | July 8, 2011

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    So yesterday, I was reading an article regarding the NFL lockout.  The content of the article was immaterial, but what struck me was that unnamed sources continued to supply information about the status of the lockout.  I was curious what incentive sources have for leaking information.   Clearly, if you work for the Government or a company where you think something bad is happening, you might be a source.  There is an obvious incentive here.

    I also realize the other possibility, which is planned leaks.  It is well known that companies intentionally release information to control how and what information is released, as well as how it is disseminated.  It also gives them control over when information is released.  A player’s agent may release information simply to raise the asking price for the player, for example.

    However, what is the incentive for someone to simply leak useless information?  Yes, we are making progress in the lock out.  Yes, we are going to update our players.  Why are these anonymous sources?

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    E Sport

    By Icebeast | June 24, 2011

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    Hello Mr. or Miss Reader,

    In this post, I’m not going to rant about something thats bothering you, but simply pose a question that I’ve been pondering.  There is no right or wrong answer here;  I’m simply thinking aloud.  In fact, in reality, I don’t even care what the answer is.   The question here, are E Sports.

    You may or may not know that there has been a significant rise in professional online gaming.  This has reached the point where leagues have formed with $50,000+ prize pools.  In face, the recent MLG Columbus served 10 million+ stream viewers over the course of 3 days (according to the CEO).  Now I’m not going to discuss if this is good or bad.  This also won’t be a slam fest on nerds or whatever.  What I want to discuss is, is it a sport?

    The first argument one might say is, “look it up, idiot”.  However, the definition in the dictionary is somewhat nebulous.  We could use this definition from dictionary.com:

    • an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.

    You could clearly argue that Starcraft 2 or Halo are neither athletic or require physical prowess.  Or you could use one of the World English Dictionary (same website) definitions:

    Or you could use this definition:

    • an individual or group activity pursued for exercise or pleasure, often involving the testing of physical capabilities and taking the form of a competitive game such as football, tennis, etc.

    In both of these latter definitions, any video game could be considered a sport.  They are competitive activities that are done for pleasure.  In thinking about this, I decided the dictionary wasn’t very useful.  So, I asked a few of the guys I work with.  Many of these guys hold Ph.D’s, and if you know anyone with a Ph.D, you know they love to argue.  They came to the consensus that to be a sport, you must meet two criteria:

    1. Objective Scoring
    2. Be at least as athletic as Bowling.

    By this definition, American Football is clearly a sport.  The winner is the team with the most points.  Points are awarded objectively.  The athletics are not in question.  Many forms of Gymnastics would not be considered sports.  While athleticism is obvious, the points are awarded subjectively.  This definition would make most E-Sports not sports, simply by the athleticism argument.  They are mostly objectively scored.

    In the end, I never reached a conclusion of if E-Sports are sports.  And in fact, as I stated earlier, it really doesn’t matter if they are or aren’t.  Some of them are entertaining to watch, others are not.  If they become more popular, perhaps this discussion will be even more pointless.  However, if any of my one readers has a comment, feel free to post it.
    Ice

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    Elevator 101

    By Icebeast | June 14, 2011

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    Hello Blog Reader,

    Today, I’m going to discuss how to properly use an elevator (lift for UK speakers).  I realize that all one of you probably already knows this, but in case this blog ever gets more readers, I felt I’d share this.  This won’t be a discussion of elevator basics, like not standing in front of the door so people can get off.  No, instead this will be a discussion of when and when not to use the elevator.

    First, if you have any form of physical disability, go ahead and use the elevator whenever you want.  This 101 class is not targeted to you and you are obviously an exception to all the rules.  The most obvious rule is, if you’re going up or down one floor, don’t take the damn elevator.  I work on the 11th floor of a 12 story building (technically the 12th floor of a 13 story building but for some reason building designers can’t count).  Nothing is more annoying than stopping at a floor, having someone get in, only to stop at the floor directly beneath them.  When going down, I often prefer the stairs since I don’t have to deal with this.  Unfortunately, going up 12 stories is a bit tiring.  So for the love of god, if you only want to travel 1 story, take the damn stairs.  I’d extend this to 2 stories but I figure that is to complicated for these people.

    The second important thing, which is related to the first, is don’t take the elevator if it is slower than the stairs.  In the parking garage I use, someone can get into the elevator simultaneously as I start on the stairs, I can go up 2 stories, and still beat them.  Don’t even get me started on going down.  In this case, you’re just lazy, since the elevator provides no other advantage.  A couple of stairs will be good for you.

    Finally, if you have kids, don’t let them press all the damn buttons.  I’m sorry, but if I’m staying at a 30 floor hotel, and my room is on floor 25, I really don’t want to stop on every floor between 1 and 25.  Keep your damn kids under control.  Keeping kids under control may be a subject for another rant soon.

    Anyway, I hope you all have learned when to use the elevator.

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    Topics: 101 Classes, Icebeast | 1 Comment »

    Getting on the Freeway 101

    By Icebeast | June 9, 2011

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    Hello Dear Reader,

    Freeway Meter Sign

    Many freeway on-ramps tend to have metered entrances.  These meters are designed (self-referential definition incoming) to meter the rate of traffic that enters the freeway, thus reducing congestion.  While we could argue the merits of meters, that is not the point of this lesson.  Like it or not, they exist.  Most meters have a sign like the one on the right.

    On the ramp I use daily, this is 2 cars per green (I couldn’t find a 2 cars per green sign on the Internets).   When they first opened this ramp, no one obeyed the sign.  I’ll give the drivers the benefit of the doubt, the sign was in a awkward place and could completely be missed.  Since then, they added not one, but two further signs.  It is not possible to miss these signs unless you are just a horrible driver.  So the question is: Why does someone always stop after the car in front of them goes?  This happens, invariably, everyday.  So I ask you dear driver, WTF?  If it says, “two cars per green”, it means two cars per green.  Learn to read!

    While I’m teaching you how to get on the freeway, I have two further points.  If there are two lanes for the on-ramp, USE BOTH LANES.  Everyone backing up in one lane is not helpful.  Further, don’t get mad when someone else actually is smart and uses the damn other lane!  THERE ARE TWO LANES!

    Finally, after you’ve passed the meter, you need to actually accelerate onto the freeway.  Because it is two cars per green, that means that the car behind you is stuck at your speed.  Getting on the freeway which is moving 65 MPH, and you’re going 40, is only going to serve to get me killed.  Its far easier to change lanes if you’re going the same speed as the cars in the lane you want to change into.  So if you get me killed because you suck at merging onto the freeway, I will haunt you!

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    Half Don’t

    By Icebeast | June 6, 2011

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    Hello Reader,

    So my Girlfriend and I are planning on taking a trip to Yosemite this fall.  The two of us are rather avid hikers and were planning on hiking Yosemite’s majestic Half Dome. 

    Half Dome
    Half Dome
    We quickly learned that a permit is required in order to hike Half Dome.  This is apparently because too many people were attempting to hike it in any given day.  Their idea was to use permits to limit the number of hikers.  Four months in advance of any month, permits go on sale at the exorbitant price of $1.50.

    So, in order to get our permit, my girlfriend decided to wake up just before 7 am, thus getting the permit right when it came on sale.  7 comes, she logs in, inputs appropriate information, ERROR.  This took approximately 5 minutes.  She tries again, all permits sold.  That’s right,  within 5 minutes, 12,000 avid hikers logged in and booked all the permits for an entire month.  I’m impressed that so many people could plan to go to Yosemite, have the foresight to get their permits, log in at the appropriate time, and coordinate it so that every day of the entire month would be completely sold out.

    Of course, thats complete BS.  A quick Google search revealed people are scalping permits at anywhere between $30-$40, quite the profit.  While I understand why scalping occurs, it is incredibly frustrating that people would scalp such treasures like our national parks.  Maybe I shouldn’t be so naive, but I wish somethings could be sacred, like having a good time in free freaking nature.   Just to be a bit positive, it seems this problem could be solved by selling the tickets on site in a first come first serve manner.  Ya, some people would get screwed by showing up and there being no tickets, but this is a problem of any FCFS system and they all seem to do just fine.

    Anyway, I’m annoyed and frustrated, but Yosemite is so awesome we’ll have plenty to do.  Until this permit system is fixed (and NPS says it’s only temporary), we probably wont be able to hike the awesomeness that is Half Dome.

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    Difficulty

    By Icebeast | May 31, 2011

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    Hello possible blog reader,

    So this is going to be a little bit of a different rant than my previous rants.  This time, I’m going to talk about difficulty, specifically in video games.  Apparently there has been a bit of a tiff with the WoW players.  No, I do not play WoW.  But as a game player, I hear the scuttlebutt.  Anyway, apparently Blizzard is going to reduce the difficulty of some encounters in the next patch.  The idea is that players who have not beaten the content yet will get a chance to beat it, while they feel the players who have are ready to move on.  However, a vocal group of players say that Blizzard has been making the game easier over time, and this has led to players getting worse, thus needing easier content.  Yes, that is a cycle.

    Now, I’m going to say two things here.  First, I agree that players should have the ability to try all the content, but I don’t believe players should be given the content gift wrapped.  In a single player game, this problem is already solved.  It’s called variable difficulty.  Most games have the anywhere between 3 and 5 difficulty options (or Civilization’s a billion), and players can progress through the content at their own pace.  Even a moderately difficult game like the Witcher 2 has an easy mode.  Some games are purposely challenging (see Demon Soul’s), but they are designed with this in mind, and any educated game buyer would know the game is insanely difficult.  The problem with WoW, is all of its content has either 1 or 2 difficulties.  Dungeon content is either “normal” or heroic.  First, having options is good, but two options makes no sense.  An easy, medium, hard, and heroic set would cater to a lot more players of different skill.

    This leads me to my second point.  The following equation in games should hold true:  Reward = Work.  That is, if you work hard to beat hard content, you should get a better reward.  If Blizzard wants to dumb down old content, make the rewards worse.  I would definitely be annoyed if I spent months learning some boss fight and beating it, only for them to make it easier and then give the same rewards to the players who beat it.  Again, I believe players have the right to see the content, but they shouldn’t necessarily get the same rewards for different difficulties.  In fact, Blizzard already adopts this policy by giving better rewards for heroic content than normal mode.  Anyway, that is my rant about game difficulty, in this context.

    If anyone is still reading at this point, have a nice day (or evening).

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    Freedom of Speech 101

    By Icebeast | May 26, 2011

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    Hello Blog Reader,

    Today, I shall resurrect the 101 classes to teach everyone about Freedom of Speech.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone gets banned or kicked from a forum, chat room or game, or gets fired from their job, for saying something dumb.  They, or their defenders, inevitably come back with, “I have the right to say whatever I want”.  They believe, erroneously, that they can say whatever they want without consequence.

    I should make it clear, before continuing this rant, that I am in no way a legal expert or constitutional expert.  However, I do know the first amendment, which gives us freedom of speech.  The amendment starts, “Congress shall make no law”.  You see it, it’s right there.  Right there in the first word.  Congress.  The first amendment states that the government should not abridge our speech.  It does not state, that private entities can not abridge our speech.  A forum, chat room, or game, are all owned by private institutions.  They have the right, via ownership, to control what is and isn’t said on their property.  This is why they can ban you for using a racial slur and your foolish defense about first amendment rights is completely BS.

    The same holds true for TV, Radio and News outlets.  If you state or publish something that these corporations disagree with on their property (possibly because you’re an employee), they have the right to dismiss you.  Its not that they are abridging your first amendment rights, because they are not Congress.  So next time you say something dumb on the Internet, don’t cry about Freedom of Speech when you get banned, because you’re just talking out of your arse.

    PS: It is ironic that I make this rant on the Internet.

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    Alive, and possibly well.

    By Icebeast | May 23, 2011

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    Hello Blog Reader (singular),

    Apparently people do in fact read this blog, even though clearly we haven’t updated it in 2 1/2 years.  Well, maybe I’ll change that.  My partner in crime may also post some things, we’ll see.  It is not that we ran out of things to complain about, just decided to stop complaining.  A few current thoughts.  Apparently skaters get really offended when you post anything about them in a negative light.  While skaters seem to bother Sparky more than I,  I do find this rather entertaining.

    In unrelated news, I learned today that people believe the Onion is actually news.   See here if you’re curious:    Failbook.  How this actually happens is beyond me.  this is not the first time this has happened but I doubt it will be the last.  Its hilarious but also a sad commentary on our public.  Unfortunately, some of these people will use what is posted on the Onion as fact, then use that to form horrible opinions (on whatever I disagree with).   From personal experience, I’ve learned to argue with people who actually care about sources, because everyone else can’t give a rats ass what you say.

    Finally, not much to say in terms of Driving news.  I now work far closer to home so I drive far less distance each day.  This makes my overall hatred for other drivers sufficiently less.  However, I do have to ask about city planning again.  They decide to construction on a nearby bridge.  This is not a problem, considering pretty much every bridge in America requires serious maintenance.  However, they completely fail at traffic management caused by said construction.  Instead of rerouting the traffic in an intelligent manner, or having an officer direct traffic to increase throughput, they just let us all sit in an incredible backup, lucky if we can travel 1 mile in 30 minutes (yup, that is a speed of 2 MPH).  It just seems that this isn’t that complicated, but I guess I don’t have a PhD in City Planning.   It just seems to me no one else does either.

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